People Share Signs That A Man's Masculinity Is More Fragile Than It Seems

No matter how confident and self-assured we'd like to think we are, it's not often accurate to say that we're completely invincible to insecurities.

Whether we're talking about the imposter syndrome people tend to experience at new jobs or shame at feeling like we're not at the right place in life, we are going to face moments in our lives when we don't feel like we're "enough."

But while many people can be honest about these feelings and work towards developing healthy, realistic expectations for themselves, others are in much stronger denial about them. So instead, they overcompensate and present themselves as having already succeeded at what they're insecure about.

And while there are many ways to do this, a particularly common one concerns those who don't see themselves in the most toxic stereotypes of masculinity, but see that more as a problem with themselves than with the stereotype.

And based on the responses seen in one Reddit thread, it seems these folks aren't masking their insecurities as cleverly as they thought.

As far as most of the replies were concerned, the overcompensaters would be harder to spot if they were quieter.

As one users put it, "Constantly looking for the need to brag about your wealth and physical prowess, especially on social media."

Whether they're talking about their money, how skilled they are in a given martial art, or how tough they are, it's hard not to see it as hollow posturing once you realize you didn't ask.

And for one user, the only place you're likely to see this as much as we do online is in the gym.

In their words, "I go to the gym a lot, I've seen guys ripped af yet don't show it off. Then I see the guys who think they need to show off every muscle in their body and have close to no actual muscle."

Apparently, telling the difference between those who are there for their own reasons and those who have something to prove isn't terribly difficult.

But while many express their insecurities through overcompensating behaviors, others make themselves easy to spot by how they use one Greek letter.

As one user said, "If he claims to be an 'alpha male' - dude, if you have to tell people (loudly and often) that you’re alpha, you are definitely not."

This one is particularly strange given that research has increasingly concluded that the animal categories the "alpha male" concept is at best more complicated than once thought and at worst, meaningless.

It also turns out that while people like confidence, that isn't the same as being aggressive or domineering, which people find significantly less attractive.

This one's weirdly specific, but some users noticed that so many who saw themselves as "alpha males" tended to share motivational memes starring the Joker.

Oddly enough, most of these memes don't actually quote the Joker and "turn up your hustle" doesn't even sound like something he might say.

But while the Joker's presence here is completely superfluous, that doesn't seem to matter for the folks we've been discussing today.

Sometimes the giveaway has less to do with how they behave than with how they react to things.

As one user put it, "When he's not supportive of the other men in his life. A truly masculine man loves and supports his brothers and celebrates their achievement.

"An insecure man brings others down to prove he's on top."

They often say that it's lonely at the top and this mentality could be a pretty big part of why that is. There's a big difference between our friends and the crabs we happen to share a bucket with and it's not hard to spot it when good things start happening to us.

The friend lifts us up, the crab pulls us down with it.

A lot of men have beards but some will assign a lot more significance to that facial hair than others.

In the words of one user, "Oh boy, men who are obsessed with their beards to a such a degree that it's their whole personality are the worst. Some hair growing on your face is really the most interesting thing you've got going on for yourself?"

The more someone tells you that "real men have beards," the less in their lives it seems they have to base their masculinity on. Grow a beard because you like it, not because you feel the need to prove something.

If you're not sure whether a guy's insecure about his masculinity, just wait until he gets a little bit of power.

As one user recalled from their experiences, "When I was in the army we would definitely see people who were bullied in high school and decided to be 'billy badass' and join the military then they would be teased and hazed a little as privates.

"But as soon as they got their own little team and a taste of power they would be the ones that made everyone's lives much more miserable than they needed to be reveling in being the tormenter."

For such people, it seems that bullying is less something that shouldn't happen and more something that shouldn't happen to them.

For one user, we don't have to look any further into a guy's fragile masculinity than in how they treat women.

As they put it, "Guys who are uncomfortable being CLOSE emotionally or physically around other men in fear of being gay or emasculated," who they also describe as having a "constant need to be in a relationship or have a 'girlfriend' no matter how he feels about her."

But as this person points out, that need doesn't translate to actual respect for the women they seek as this type of person tends to belittle or disparage women when they speak out about an issue.

We've seen many markers to spot men who are insecure about their masculinity but the easiest way to identify one may be to ask him what a "real man" is.

In the words of one user, "His view on what makes a man a man is narrow. In his mind, there are only 2-3 types of men and other types are wrong."

And boy, are we likely to hear about it when this person sees someone whose wardrobe, hobbies, job, or general characteristics don't meet this overly specific definition for manhood.

This last trait is minor but can provide something of a window into why the guys we're talking about get so wrapped up in machismo.

One user sought to call out men who create nicknames for themselves.

Obviously, most people who use the internet will do that to some degree, but they're referring to people who have a nickname in a friend group that one of their friends gave them. The Todd from Scrubs here serves as a decent example of what we're talking about here.

Like many of the examples we can see here, such behaviors hint to us that the need to feel masculine among these guys is just a more specific manifestation of the need to feel important.

h/t: Reddit | unculturedswine420